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Obama administration seeks to block Alabama immigration law

(Xinhua)

08:22, October 08, 2011

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Obama administration on Friday asked a federal appeals court to block the state of Alabama 's new immigration law, described as the strictest anti-illegal immigration law in the United States.

The Justice Department urged the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to issue an injunction pending the appeal, saying the provisions in the law "invade the federal government's exclusive authority over immigration."

"The sweeping scheme is highly likely to expose persons lawfully in the United States, including school children, to new difficulties in routine dealings with private persons and the state," the department said in its filing.

The law, which went into effect last month, requires police, in the course of any lawful "stop, detention or arrest," make a " reasonable attempt" to determine a person's citizenship and immigration status.

Under the law, public elementary and secondary schools are required to determine whether students are illegal immigrants. While it will not bar them from schools, it requires every school district to submit an annual report on the number of presumed illegal immigrants to the state education board.

The law also bans illegal immigrants from receiving any state or local public benefits, bars them from enrolling in or attending college, and prohibits them from applying for or soliciting work.

Opponents said the law is unconstitutional and endangers public safety, invites racial profiling and interferes with federal law.

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